Conducting phone interviews is a vital step in any successful hiring process. It gives you time to learn about your applicants, their goals and if they’d be a good fit for the role. In fact, learning how to prepare for a phone interview could revolutionise your company’s hiring process.

It can be challenging for recruiters or hiring managers to get the same level of commitment from a candidate that they would get from an in-person interview. However, if you find candidates who are eager to impress, the benefits can be many.

Here’s how to prepare for a phone interview as a recruiter to get the most out of your hiring process.


Treat it Like a Face-to-Face

Whilst the format they take on may differ, a phone interview and a face-to-face interview ultimately serve the same purpose.

Out of 118 applicants, only 20% of applicants get to the interview round. The phone interview will help you get through the decision-making process with ease.

If you want to learn how to prepare for a phone interview, you should follow the same steps you would take when conducting a final-stage interview.

This preparation can include conducting candidate research, preparing a list of interview questions and warming your voice up for a conversation.

You can also take the same thorough approach to interviews as you would in a face-to-face interview. Just because the setting is different doesn’t mean the approach has to be too.

Use strategic pauses, emphasise important questions and pay attention to detail in a candidate’s response. These elements will help you conduct a thorough yet enjoyable telephone interview.


Create the Right Environment

It doesn’t matter where or when you plan on conducting your phone interviews, you need to locate the correct space to give each candidate the attention they deserve.

To help you remove distractions, ensure it’s just you, your phone and your notes in the space. 

If you need a laptop to conduct your calls, turn off your emails. If you’re working in the office, book a room where you can freely. Taking these steps guarantees that the candidate has your full attention, allowing you to judge their abilities as well as you can.

Now you’ve found the proper space to sit for your interviews, you need the right equipment. Typically this should be your communication channel and either a pen and paper OR a notes page on your laptop. 

Once the interview starts, inform the candidate you’ll be taking notes so they understand there may be a delay in your responses. This will buy you thinking time allow you time to analyse their response and attitude.

Preparing for a Phone Interview


Things To Look Out For In a Phone Interview

  1. Attentiveness

Since there will be no physical communication in a phone interview, you must pay close attention to whether the candidate is giving the interview their all.

Since you can’t make eye contact with or see the candidate’s posture on a phone interview, you should pay extra attention to their voice. Are they hesitating when they answer? Are they providing blunt answers? Can you hear noises in the background? If this is the case, they may not be 100% invested in the interview.

Roughly 5% of decisions on a candidate were made within the first minute. If a candidate doesn’t show they’re attentive during this time, it’s safe to say they may not be the best candidate for you

  1. Willingness To Engage

How eager and responsive a candidate is will tell you a lot about their personality during an interview. Whether they’re upbeat and cheery or monotone and short, you can gather from the tone of their responses if they’d be a good fit within your business.

Another way to gauge dedication to the interview is how much they’re talking. Reports suggest that the average interview should be 50% talking and 50% listening. You can tell how invested a candidate is based on how much they’re talking.

  1. Communication Skills

A phone interview isn’t just your chance to learn more about the candidate – it is also their chance to learn more about your business.

A candidate may have specific questions about the role, the hours or the salary that you have not yet discussed.

If they can communicate answers and questions properly and professionally, you can determine if they have strong communication skills.


End on the Right Note"

In order to leave a lasting impression as an employer, you must ensure that you properly close out the interview.

You wouldn’t suddenly stand up towards the end of a face-to-face interview and walk out… why should you do the equivalent here?

Firstly, let the candidate know if you require anything from them. If there are any tasks you need the candidate to complete (sending over a CV, asking them to complete a competency test), then you should clearly explain this to them before the end of the phone interview.

Similarly, you should ask the candidate if they require anything from you. This may be a job description or a breakdown of the role responsibilities.

Then, once all final details have been discussed, you should inform the candidate of the next steps. If you’re confident that you want to progress them to the next stage, inform them of this and save wasting their time. If you need some time to make your decision, give them a timeframe in which they can expect to hear back.

Communicating the next steps of your process is vital so you don’t leave candidates in the dark. You wouldn’t do it in person, so don’t do it over the phone.

How to Prepare for a phone Interview

If you require help conducting a phone interview, assistance spotting great talent or a completely bespoke recruitment campaign, get in touch with AvA-V and we can help solve your company’s recruitment needs.